The process of writing Why I started GigoBooks made me think more about the market niche and positioning for GigoBooks. Previously (even though I was creating something that I could use) I only had some vague idea that it would be for ‘solopreneurs and other micro-businesses’.
But now, thanks to (the thinking triggered by) blogging, I have a much clearer idea. Here it is:
- Solo operator
- Comfortable doing accounting by themselves
- Doesn’t have a/an (regular) accountant
- Wants to manage/control own data
- Simple affairs:
- No employees
- No (or minimal) stock
- Few/no capital assets that need depreciation
Let’s expand this further.
The model user is someone who is running a business/gig/consultancy/side-project/etc by him-/her-self and is knowledgeable enough to DIY. They don’t need an accountant, or at least, they don’t use one on a regular basis. They appreciate having control over their own data and strongly dislike having their data held hostage by a SaaS solution.
Related to this is that they have simple affairs: No employees. No/minimal stock inventory. No/minimal capital assets/depreciation. The simplicity is what makes DIY feasible and attractive. For example, they don’t need a regular accountant if their affairs are simple and rarely change.
Coincidentally, this describes me :)
Simplicity works for the vendor (in this case: me) too. It means I don’t have to implement features to support accounting for employees, or stock, or capital assets and depreciation. This makes the product tractable for a “bootstrapped business”.
But now I’m going to arbitrarily add one more thing. I’m projecting:
- Focus on quick and ease of use
- Let the user do what they need to do, in a minimum amount of time
I spend very little time doing accounting. I personally have only a handful of transactions to record each month, and I do most of the filing once per quarter (Even that is because my local tax authority requires quarterly statements).
I really appreciate spending just a minimal amount of time, every once in a while, on accounting. Just go in, do it, get out and then get on with your life. I hope my users will appreciate it too.
And that’s the niche I’m targeting with GigoBooks.
(Does this niche sound like you? Are you a solo operator looking for a simple DIY accounting solution for your simple affairs? NoSaas? If so, then perhaps GigoBooks is the perfect match for you.)
The great thing about a clearly defined niche (and model user) is that it informs the MVP feature set. For example, a lot of ‘accounting for small business’ solutions would tout ‘Your staff can access your accounts from anywhere’ as a great feature (and a strong argument for SaaS). For my niche, that’s actually an anti-feature.
Going a bit further: Having defined the niche as those users who have simple affairs, I can omit 90% of the functionality that other accounting software have, but which my users won’t use. This allows me to reduce clutter and make GigoBooks even more focused and suitable for its niche.
Blogging has really helped clarify the niche in my mind. I feel like I know the end user much better than when I had some vague ‘accounting for SMBs’ idea.
(And now I need to adjust the marketing/message for the product and the blog.)
Now I know why startup advice recommends going for a niche. It really does bring clarity and focus.